Road Trip Around Scotland – Part 2: Into The Highlands

Road Trip around Scotland:  When did I go?

Welcome to Part 2 of my  Road Trip around Scotland! Luckily, Erica was able to join me for this part of the journey having flown into Glasgow Airport on Day 15.  Find out where we went and what we saw in the stunning Highlands of Scotland!

If you haven’t already done so, please make sure you read  Road Trip around Scotland – Part 1.  Considering building a motorhome of your own? Well you are in the right place – find out how in my motorhome section.

Road Trip around Scotland: Day 16

Having parked up on the shores of Loch Lomond the night before, we awoke to a completely still, cold and crisp morning.  Consequently, we wrapped up warm and sat with the doors open having breakfast watching the sun rise over the beautiful Loch

Loch Lomond calm morning. Highlands Road Trip around Scotland
The view over Loch Lomond!

Luss

After breakfast, we drove a few miles to the lovely village of Luss where we walked along the narrow streets down to the water’s edge.  I had actually visited Luss during the summer a few years ago when I was in Scotland for work. Consequently, it was amazing to see how quiet the village was during February!  My memory was of completely packed streets and beautiful hanging baskets – very different to the lovely rural quiet experience of today!

Falls of Falloch

Whilst Loch Lomond really was a stunning place, we were both keen to move further North and explore somewhere completely new.  Consequently, we returned to the van and headed up the A82 towards Glencoe!  The weather had started to deteriorate and by now was torrential rain with localised flooding – we even saw the police trying to recover a Range Rover that had skidded into the loch!

Our next stop was the Falls of Falloch.  A path from a small car park just off the main road led us to this wonderful location.  Furthermore, a viewing platform enabled us to stand over the water and observe from a close distance. 

Falls of Falloch, A82. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Falls of Falloch

Glencoe

Despite having lots of wet weather gear, I had visited the waterfall in jeans and a light jacket.  This turned out to have been a poor decision!  Consequently, I was soaked through and so spent a while warming up in the van before we moved off!  I also took the opportunity to change into some more suitable clothes for the rest of the day…

We rejoined the A82 and continued travelling north through the stunning countryside.  The journey took a long time as we stopped regularly to take in the views! Unfortunately, due to the high winds and torrential rain, we decided it sensible not to go on a longer hike away from the main road.  

Glencoe, A82. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
View from along the A82

 

Eventually we arrived at An Torr & Signal Rock car park, a secluded area with a number of short circular walks.  We chose a route across a stream and up to a high point which gave us some excellent views.

An Torr & Signal Rock Carpark in Glencoe. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
View from An Torr

Loch Leven & Grey Mares Waterfall

We continued on the A82 and popped into the Glencoe Visitor’s centre before driving on the B863 alongside Loch Leven.  The views across the loch were truly stunning and this was my favourite road of the trip so far!  Sadly my camera lens had misted up in the rain, however you can still see how beautiful it was here!

Loch Leven.
View over Loch Leven

 

Finally, we arrived in the town of Kinlochmore at the end of the loch at around 4:30pm.  Consequently, we only had around an hours daylight remaining, however this was just enough time to hike up to Grey Mare’s Waterfall.  

Grey Mare's Waterfall, Kinlochmore.
Grey Mare’s Waterfall, Kinlochmore

 

By the time we returned to the van, it was almost dark and getting very cold.  Our evening was spent planning the next few days of the Road Trip around Scotland!

Road Trip around Scotland: Day 17

After a peaceful nights sleep, we set off towards the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre.  Our route took us along the northern side of Loch Leven on the B863.  The views were just as spectacular as the previous day and well worth the detour!

Loch Leven North Side. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
The view across Loch Leven

 

Eventually, we arrived at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre, some 25 miles from Kinlochleven. The lady in reception suggested we visit Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge as well as a few short walks around the visitor centre.  Following her advice for a local walk, we headed across a bridge to the base of the mountains and followed a lovely path along River Nevis

Ben Nevis Visitor Centre sign. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Lots of walks from the visitor centre!
Path along River Nevis. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Walking along the River Nevis path

Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge

Once we were back at the van, we continued along the road towards Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge.  Around a 1.5 miles from the car park, we reached a weight limit of 3 tonnes.  Consequently we were unable to continue by road and so parked up and continued our journey on foot along the River Nevis.  By now, the wind had really picked up and was gusting around 40mph.

Path along River Nevis. Road Trip around Scotland
Walking towards the Steall Waterfall carpark
Small waterfall on River Nevis. Road Trip around Scotland
We passed a mini waterfall!

 

After about an hour, we reached the Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge car park.  From here, we followed the rocky path along the Gorge towards the waterfall with some spectacular views along the way! Eventually, after around 2 hours we arrived at Steall Falls.  We were rewarded with a lovely view of the falls and a cup of hot coffee from the thermos flask!

view near Steall Falls
Erica enjoying the view!
Steall Falls, Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Steall Falls – The hike was worth it!

 

By now, the wind was gusting over 50mph and so we decided it was definitely time to start heading back! Consequently, we retraced our steps through the gorge back to the Steall Falls car park.  We were both starting to get a little uncomfortable with the gusts and so decided to walk along the road as opposed to the river path which we had taken on the ascent.

Loch Lochy

Once safely back at the van, we had a late lunch and looked on the map to find somewhere to spend the night.  We agreed on Glengarry, about an hours drive north.  Furthermore, the route would take us past the brilliantly named Loch Lochy and then Loch Oich.

Both of the lochs were beautiful and we were able to go for a short walk along each.  Loch Oich had a nice car park and would be the perfect place for a picnic if we had more time!  Eventually as darkness fell, we departed and headed to our overnight stop in Glengarry.

Loch Oich. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
View over Loch Oich

 

Road Trip around Scotland: Day 18

Glengarry

We had parked overnight in a small clearing alongside River Garry on the edge of Glengarry.  We slept well with only the sound of water overnight.

After breakfast went exploring! Our route took us along the river Garry for around a mile before returning in a loop through a pine plantation and back to the van.  Luckily, we managed to fly the drone for a few minutes before the wind picked up!

View along River Garry. Glengarry.

We then made our way up the A87 to Glengarry Viewpoint.  This was  a little disappointing as trees obscured the view somewhat, however the drone gave us a completely different perspective! 

Glengarry Viewpoint, A87. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
The view over Loch Garry

Bridge of Oich

After our photo stop at the viewpoint, we made our way back into Invergarry and drove to Bridge of Oich.  The listed wooden decked bridge was the main route across the River Oich from its construction in 1854 until 1932.  However now, it serves as a footbridge offering a lovely view towards Loch Oich.

Bridge of Oich, River Oich. Highlands
Bridge of Oich
View over Bridge of Oich, River Oich. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
The view from above Bridge of Oich

Fort Augustus

Our next stop was Fort Augustus, a busy little town built around a series of locks on the Caledonian Canal.  Here we spent our time exploring the locks and watching engineers replace the enormous lock gates using cranes!  It was fascinating to see the locks completely drained of water! 

Loch Ness

Fort Augustus also sits at the southern most end of Loch Ness and is home to one of three Pepperpot Lighthouses, the smallest in Britain! As to be expected, standing near the lighthouse gave us an excellent panoramic view of Loch Ness.

Pepperpot Lighthouse, Fort Augustus. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
A Pepperpot Lighthouse – the smallest lighthouse in Britain!

Urquhart Castle

Once we had finished exploring the town, we continued along the northern side of Loch Ness and arrived at Urquhart Castle.  By now, it had turned into a glorious day with clear blue skies.  Consequently, our visit to Urquhart Castle was even more memorable.  The castle sits towering over Loch Ness with fantastic views right along the loch.

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

Glen Affric

By the time we had finished exploring the castle, it was mid afternoon and so we had around 2 hours daylight remaining.  Erica had read that Glen Affric was well worth a detour from our route towards Inverness.  Consequently, we decided to drive there and spend the night in the Glen.

The drive into Glen Affric was indeed spectacular, we drove around 10 miles along a narrow road until we reached a car park half way along Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin. Here walked along the water’s edge before sitting quietly to enjoy the view.

Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin, Glen Affric. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, Glen Affric

River Affric

We continued on to the end of the 15 mile track and reached River Affric car park. Amazingly, during our entire drive, we didn’t meet a single car and both car parks were deserted. Indeed, it was stunning to be somewhere so remote and quiet. Unfortunately, whilst a beautiful location, we were were unable to stay in the car park overnight.  Consequently, after a short walk in the near darkness, we drove a short distance back along the road to an area without restrictions.

Once night fell, it was extremely dark.  We took advantage of this and spent some time experimenting with the camera and long exposure before we retired for the night!

Glen Affric. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Long Exposure with a torch behind the van!

 

Road Trip around Scotland: Day 19

Snow! Not a huge amount, however we did wake to a light covering over the van.  Keen to see more, we returned to the River Affric car park and walked around half a mile up to the River Affric viewpoint.  From here we had a complete 360 degree view, certainly worth the climb!

River Affric, Highland Road Trip around Scotland
River Affric from the viewpoint

 

Next, we headed back to the car park and completed a longer marked circular path along the river. Of course, we managed to get the drone in the air a few times!

River Affric. Highlands
View over the River from above.

 

After about an hour, we made it back to the van and returned along the road to the Dog Falls car park. Here we planned a longer 6 mile circular hike that would take us to both the falls and along a ridge. 

Dog Falls

The Dog Falls were much smaller than we had expected, however they were still beautiful with the water making its way down a narrow gorge.

Dog Falls, Glen Affric
Downstream of Dog Falls

 

Our route took us up a steep hill from which we had a great view over the tiny Coire Loch before descending onto a forestry track back to the carpark and the van!  By the time we arrived back it was mid afternoon and so we stopped for a late lunch. Furthermore, it had started to snow again, this time quite heavily. The photograph was taken at the top of the ridge, about half an hour before the snow arrived. We were tempted to retrace our steps to get a snowy shot, however time was getting on and so we instead headed out of Glen Affric.

Glenn Affric. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
The view shortly before the snow started!

Strathglass Valley

Glen Affric had been spectacular and we would have loved a few more days exploring.  Unfortunately Erica only had another day before she had to be back home.  Consequently we had to leave and so headed for the village of Beauly. Our route took us along the A831 through the Strathglass Valley which rewarded us with some beautiful views!

Strathglass Valley, A83. Road Trip around Scotland
One of our many stops along the Strathglass Valley!

Beauly

The village of Beauly’s main attraction was Beauly Priory built in the 1200’s. Luckily, it was free entry and so we were able to walk in and around the priory to take some photographs. 

After a meander back through the village where we stocked up with food, we decided to head out and find somewhere along the Beauly Firth for the night.

Beauly Priory, Inverness-Shire. Road Trip around Scotland
Beauly Priory

Beauly Firth

Using the app Park4Night, we found a stunning location along a road near to Redcastle.  Luckily it was a very calm evening and so we were able to fly the drone before watching the sunset. Beautiful!

Beauly Firth, Inverness-Shire. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Beauly Firth

 

Road Trip around Scotland: Day 20

We woke to a beautiful sunrise over Beauly Firth! Indeed the forecast for the day ahead was perfect weather. Unfortunately, this was to be Erica’s final day joining me on my Road Trip.  Her flight was due to depart Inverness airport at 16:00 and so we needed to plan the day accordingly. We decided to head into Inverness for a walk and then onto Culloden.

Sunrise, Beauly Firth. Inverness-Shire.
A Beautiful Sunrise over Beauly Firth

Inverness

After a short drive, we arrived in the centre of Inverness.  It actually felt strange suddenly finding ourselves in a busy city having been so remote for the past few days.  Our route took us along the north side of the River Ness past Inverness Cathedral and to Ness Islands where we encountered the Loch Ness Monster! Luckily he wasn’t hungry and so were able to walk back along the south side of the river past Inverness Castle, eventually arriving back to the van.

Inverness Cathedral, Inverness-Shire.
Inverness Cathedral
Lochness Monster, Inverness. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
We found the Loch Ness Monster!
Inverness Castle. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Inverness Castle

Culloden

After our rather rapid tour of Inverness, we made our way to Culloden Battlefied.  The National Trust for Scotland had excelled themselves with a fascinating exhibition.  We both learnt a lot from the exhibition and enjoyed wondering around the battlefields.

Culloden Battlefield, Inverness-shire. Highland Road Trip around Scotland
Culloden Battlefield

Ardersier

We were down to our last hour and a half before Erica needed to be at the airport.  Consequently we drove to the small village of Ardersier, about 5 minutes from Inverness Airport.  Luckily there was a lovely parking area right by the beach where we had lunch before going for a short walk.  I then drove Erica to the airport before returning to Ardersier where I spent the evening working on my blog!

Ardersier, Inverness.
The beach at Ardersier

 

I have compiled some of the video footage taken with my drone.  Let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the video!

Click Here to continue reading as I head into The Cairngorms!

 

Click back soon to find out where else I have been! Alternatively please subscribe to keep up to date with Van and Boat!


 

Further Reading.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading about my Road Trip around Scotland. If so, why not read about my Road Trip around North Wales as well as other adventures in the van and boat.

If you are planning your own Road Trip, read this handy guide!

 

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